Those were the days! Everybody—especially those growing older—likes to hearken back to the “good old days” when they were young and the living was easy. Here’s the thing: we call BS. Living’s never easy for anyone of any era, especially for—surprisingly enough—first-world 1950s housewives, those queens of the fabled picket fences and gingham aprons who were supposedly living the great “American Dream.” They who toiled to “honor and obey” their significant others, put family first and above all smile, smile, smile. Give the old man a peck on the cheek when he comes home and have dinner ready by five.
Well, here are 15 hilariously sarcastic '50s housewife-style memes that put a whole new narrative on that tired, old “happy 50s housewife” stereotype.
15 He's not thinking straight...
There once was a time—thankfully back in some alien, husband-wife-and-2.5-children yesteryear—when the guy in the above picture’s cartoon balloon words were something every woman was actually supposed to aspire to. Only a couple of short generations ago, so-called successful men were expected to slave away at some executive office 9-to-5 out of the house and their wives were supposed to stay home, dust in the mornings and then eat bon-bons and watch soap operas in the afternoons (we think?), waiting for the kids to come home from school and for hubby to return so she could serve them, as if her life went into some virtual limbo with the family gone. Well, this sassy lady puts her man’s ridiculous notions into proper perspective!
14 Oblivious no more!
We all know people who are so consumed with themselves, so self-absorbed that they don’t ever consider anyone else’s point of view. If they need something, the world must need it, too. If there’s something they don’t need—well, why would anyone else in the world possibly have use for it? They don’t need it and so no one else must need it, either. That’s their line of thinking. The thing is...these people are delusional. That’s the diagnosis. Sometimes, doctors even find the heads of these people up their own butts via colonoscopy. Doctors are always amazed at the bendy skills of these contortionists and their complete obliviousness to the needs of anyone but themselves. Researchers are presently studying this common phenomenon known as “head-up-the-*ss-itis.”
13 Domestic bliss?
According to this wife, there are two things to be done every day: cooking and laundry. Sounds simple, right? Would you like this or be bored out of your mind? Three meals a day need to be made and laundry quantity depends on how many live in the home. Back in the '50s they probably had a wringer washer, one of those machines where the clothes churn around in a big sudsy basin and then get wrung out through rollers where you feed each item through separately, which sounds beyond tedious. This '50s housewife probably listened wistfully to radio serials (such as I Was A Communist For The FBI or Alka-Seltzer Time) while wringing out her annoying family’s boring laundry, piece by dreaded piece.
12 Yeah, right!
What about those poor '50s housewives who weren’t Martha Stewart types? Even though every married woman in the '50s was apparently a housewife (and single “spinsters” were secretaries, nurses, teachers and librarians), that doesn’t mean all these married housewives were necessarily skilled in the arts of homemaking. What if you were a '50s housewife and a terrible cook? What if you couldn’t boil water without torching your kitchen? How’re you gonna make that soufflé rise when you have no clue how to separate an egg? Recipes are like reading torrid romance novels to you: dream-like and they cover only the good bits and the happily-ever-afters—not the reality of fallen meringues and dirty dishes. You become skilled in the art of decorating botched cakes with extra icing.
11 All in good fun
We’re gonna take this for a saucy exchange, not a knock-down drag out, because to escalate this to a full-on fisticuffs demands longstanding simmering resentment between these two people and they look so damn stereotypically sweet that we can’t do that to them—we can’t imagine that dismal life for them. They deserve better! Like, look at the heart-shaped pockets on her gingham apron! Can you picture her stuck in an unfulfilling relationship? Look at the playful look on his friendly face, like he’s totally messing with her. These two sass each other on a regular basis. He comes in with stuff like, “Hey, the house is too clean...so the internet’s down?” and she comes back with stuff like, “Yes it’s down, you bastard!”
10 Failures in child-proofing
If you really want to child-proof your house like this lady, you start with birth control; otherwise that horse is already out of the barn and all up in your brownie batter when you turn your head for two seconds to answer Ethel’s call about whether she should wear the pink taffeta to the upcoming nostalgic "Earth Angel" gala. You tell her to wear a poodle skirt just to mess with her—a poodle skirt would be all wrong, of course—but fashionista Ethel instinctively knows better. She cracks a joke about pairing that with an argyle sweater before you both hang up and then you remember you’ve been meaning to ask Ethel how she child-proofed her house because her children are neither seen nor heard.
9 "See this scar? You're named for it..."
We imagine this lady in the picture says something like this to get her children to clean their rooms: “That’s right. The doctor had to make an O-shaped incision to extract you from my uterus so I named you Oona in honor of my scar. Imagine if it was in the shape of a Q? What would I have called you? Queen? Or A? That’s easy—I’d probably call you Anne. There are already so many Annes, though. And M is for Mary. S would be for Susanna. Imagine if it were in the shape of an X? What then? I don’t know—I think Oona is pretty unique—so now—Oona—go clean your damn room. I had a C-section for you.”
8 Staying one step ahead of the children
Sometimes, you just need a break from the rugrats tugging at your modest, halfway-below-the knee skirts. It's treacherous avoiding sidewalk cracks that break mother’s backs in heels but you studiously avoid them because you’re becoming more superstitious with age. The kids, however, stomp on every crack and shriek with joy behind you—keeping score—as kids do. Your back has been broken 23 times in past two minutes per their count. You’ve heard that sometimes, old farmer’s wives hid among the tall stalks in their cornfields just to take a breather from their kiddos. So when you’re out for a stroll with your squad or bestie along with the kids and there are no cornstalks in sight, you just keep a few paces ahead of the cursed munchkins.
7 Living a balanced life
It’s true. Some of us have OCD in our heads but we don’t have the energy to actually behave like we have OCD. The thing is, keeping on top of aligning items on shelves, straightening pictures on walls, alphabetizing book collections and/or archiving recipes (or whatever else your obsessional poison might be) happens to take a certain amount of energy and motivation—of which some of us are deficient. *Ahem* This is when being lazy actually comes in handy and turns out to be a positive. Some of us simply don’t have the energy to pursue our obsessional goals to pathologic ends and so we may outwardly (sometimes!) look like couch potatoes, but inside there’s always this inner OCD perfectionist type who’s just too damn lazy to bust out!
6 A different take on Campbell's soup
This lady is reading the directions on a Campbell’s Soup label and says to herself: “Just add water? That’s it? I could use my tears. I cry enough on a daily basis to make two servings of soup. The week before Aunt Flo makes her appearance, I cry enough for four servings. Today, I will listen to the radio soap Backstage Wife which makes me weep just enough to serve my kids lunch. This soup’s condensed like my emotions. It’s weird that I express emotion by crying (shouldn’t I be getting more condensed from crying? Like, dehydrated?). And then I add that same teary water to the soup which becomes less condensed. What kind of weird science is this, anyway? I just blew my own mind.”
5 What's the soundtrack of her life?
Sometimes background music helps guide us. When we’re watching a movie or television show, the music can signal whether to be scared or excited or adds to the mood or atmosphere. Imagine going through life with a soundtrack to guide us? Chopin’s Funeral March plays en route to that dull office receptionist job; Ode To Joy plays when something exciting’s about to happen; some peppy and energetic tune plays whenever we’re en route to a rave, speakeasy or sock hop—depending on whatever era we happen to live in. When Frank Sinatra croons, this lady will most certainly get excited because that means she’s about to meet someone sexy. Woot! Time to fluff her hair and check her teeth once romantic Frankie starts singing!
4 Counting electric sheep
Most people have at least the occasional restless night where they lie in bed and can’t quiet their minds. Sometimes, they try counting sheep since that’s supposed to help people sleep. You can’t count plain old sheep though. You have to make up voices for them, different characters and personalities and they get into scrapes and barnyard escapades and their lives start turning into a soap opera, so now you want to stay up so you won’t miss anything. These damn sheep you’ve invented in your own brain have hooked you into their storyline. Now, you want to know if Wooley will wind up with Cashmere or go hang out in Lambie’s stall or what. Stupid brain! Quit talking to yourself when I’m trying to sleep!
3 Close call!
You know how it is when you want to lay low: You put on your brightest white dress, elbow length robin’s egg blue satin gloves, pile on your pearls and hide behind your glam Dior sunglasses because surely no one will ever recognize you in those.
So, you’re out and about supposedly incognito on a balmy French Riviera afternoon and stumble right into an exclusive pool party where you’re promptly shuttled into the VIP area (these people weren’t supposed to be able to recognize you in this getup! Why does this keep happening!?) That’s what this woman pictured above is asking herself. She just wanted a quiet, low-key afternoon but damn it, she stumbled right into some hoity-toity cocktail party and almost had to socialize!
2 I'm not clicking on your damn links
That’s right. A '50s housewife wouldn’t refer to “YouTube links” because they’ve not been invented yet. If you told a '50s housewife she’s been “de-friended”, she’d probably know that this sounds like an insult—but wouldn’t really know what it meant. As for talk about “hid(ing) your feed,” she’d wonder if you were talking about barnyard animals? Birds, maybe? Bird feeders? She’d definitely understand “asinine political rantings” because those have existed since time began and she’d heard it from her own father and grandfather and surely there are cave-paintings and hieroglyphics from ancient times that are both “asinine” and “political” scratched into stone walls after a caveman (or cavewoman’s) drunken bender (the equivalent of today's drunk dialing/texting/tweeting/snapchatting or posting) since some things never change.
1 Who's DJing the produce aisle?
Okay, this grocery store’s piped in muzak is like the hottest DJ in town spinning the sickest house remix and takes us right back to our salad days—by which we mean our younger days—speaking of which, we need tomatoes, lettuce, pepper and cucumber for the salad. And we think some fresh dill for the vinaigrette. By the time we hit up the canned goods, DJ Nostalgia’s still going strong, playing slow dance tunes we used to cry to when we first had our hearts broken at school dances and then by the time we hit the frozen foods, they’re playing the same song that played the first night we went all the way with Troy in the backseat of his Chevy. Takes us back!